The Liberal Democrats have unveiled a manifesto commitment to bring the sale of cannabis under a system of strict legal regulation.
A legal, regulated market for cannabis would bring in £1bn for the government, according to Treasury figures, which were commissioned by Nick Clegg while he was deputy prime minister.
In 2016 in Bristol’s mayoral election the Lib Dems said that they wanted to encourage the police to take a more relaxed approach towards cannabis-related offences.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Bristol West Stephen Williams said:
“Drug policy in this country has, to date, almost always been driven by political and ideological agendas that have ignored scientific, public health and social policy norms.
“Legalising cannabis is something I've long supported. I was on the ministerial committee on drugs in the coalition government.
“We must all accept that the prohibition of cannabis and criminalising people who use it, has failed. We need an evidence based approach to drugs law, one which is based on independent and scientific advice, rather than fear and prejudice. Cannabis-use should be primarily a health issue, not a criminal justice one.
“Successive governments have ceded total control of a significant public health problem to organised crime. A new approach is needed. The honest and pragmatic response is to take responsibility for this situation and regulate the market.
“I am proud that the Liberal Democrats will introduce a legal, regulated market for cannabis, that we will restrict the market to over-18s and that we will invest tax revenues of up to £1bn in education and treatment.”